So the package arrived today. This order was placed exactly 10 days ago, so I really can't say anything negative about the delivery. The box was well packed. It contained two tubular rails, two aluminium plates, and a handful of fasteners. The instructions that come with the package are useless, but really it's not that complicated. You can't really tell at this point if the pieces are bent or how much effort will be required to make this thing work. You really just have to start bolting bits on. I will apologize now for the crappy iPhone 4 camera. Looking at a Nokia Lumia 1020 with a 41mp camera to remedy this.
Step #1. Rear Mount. I figure you need to start here. Unlike the “lower front” the Versys` “lower rear” engine mount is one long bolt for both sides of the engine. You are safe to take out the stock bolt. The “upper rear” engine mount will take the weight of the engine. The Happy-Trail bolt is quite a bit longer. Install both tubular rails on either side of the “lower rear” mount. Install a washer (not in the kit) before the nylon lock nut. But just keep the nylon lock nut finger tight. At this point just let the tubular rails hang down from the lower rear mount.
Step #2. Front Right Mount. Since I am running Dimotiv crash bars, they will have to be installed before the right tubular rail can be swung up and bolted on. Unbolt the plastic radiator shroud. This shroud will have to be modified to fit with the skidplate. Then unbolt the stock bolt from the captured nut in the engine case. There is a 2 inch long spacer that will fall out when you yank the bolt out. This is obviously re-used. Grab the longer bolt from the kit and slide it through the skid plate rail first, through the Dimotive Crash bar, through the frame of the bike, through that spacer that fell out, then through the engine casing. You will find that the nylon lock nut from Happy-Trail will not fit the pocket in the engine casing. The nut appears to be too tall. So I reused the nylon lock nut that came with the Dimotive crash bars. It seemed to work fine. Just lightly tighten this bolt at this point. The shroud will have to be ground down about 3/8” to clear the tubular rail. I just used a bench grinder and ground the corner down but a rotary tool would work as well. You don't have to take much off, just enough to allow you to bolt the shroud back on. Its underneath, so if you remove the skidplate later, you would never see the bit you ground down. Unless you were laying down on the ground beside the bike, I guess.
Step #3. Front Left Mount. The same as step #2, but there is no 2 inch spacer on this side, and you don't have to remove and grind the rad shroud on this side. Once all three mounts are on. Torque everything down. Check the specs.
Step #4. Aluminium Plates. Grab a pencil, some green painters tape and a couple of Vice grips. This is the part you want to take your time with. Start with the bottom plate. Place tape on the top side of the plate, this is so you can mark the holes that need to be drilled. Yes, drilled folks. Place the plate on the tubular rails and clamp them in place with a Vice Grip on each side. These things are aluminium so just a gentle pinch will do. Get the piece where you want it. Walk around the bike several times if necessary. I had one welded on tab (rear right) that needed to be bent to sit flush with the plate. (See Pic) I just bent that into place with the Vice grips. Using the pencil, mark where the holes should go. You have to get creative here. The front is really no problem, but in the rear the exhaust is in the way. Try snapping the pencil in-two to make it smaller. Try grabbing some lead from the pencil with a pair of needle nose pliers and mark the holes that way. I had a can of orange spray paint laying around and I shoved a red WD40 straw into the valve and used that to mark the holes. Centre-punch, then drill the holes. This part was simple for me because I have a decent drill press. But it is aluminium, so it's quite soft and easy to drill, even with a cheap cordless drill. All but one of the holes I drilled were fine. I had one that was not lined up, so I just made that hole slightly bigger. The hardware that they send you to mount the plate is questionable. The tubular rails have welded nuts, so why do they send you nylon lock nuts for it? All I can think of is that some skid kits have welded nuts, and some don't. Anyway, I tried just bolting the plates using the steel and rubber washers from the kit. It mounted solid but I noticed rattling (metal on metal). The plates were touching the tubular rails in some spots and vibrating. Since it is a Versys... this will be addressed. So I ditched the small rubber washers and used my own, thicker rubber washer in between the rail and the plate. This really finished off the install nicely. But more importantly it does what I want it to do... I rolled my motorcycle lift under the skid plate and with a few pumps with the foot, both wheels were off the ground. It was bit unnerving lifting the Versys, as I am used to lifting my lightweight dirt bike on this lift. It seemed solid, but I will take caution while moving the bike around my garage with the casters.
Overall I am happy. If I didn't want something tubular and flat on the bottom, I would go with the SW. You most likely would not have fastener issues or vibration with the SW. The price of the HT is a bit cheaper. This skid was $219 to my door. Probably $300 for SW. It was nice to dig the bike out of storage and turn a few wrenches. If it wasn't for the 3 feet of snow outside I would be out on it now, instead of typing this. I hope this gives you an idea of what is involved with this installation. I think this skid plate has gotten some bad publicity in the past. I hope this has cleared up some questions, or helped somebody make a decision.